The following excerpt is written by my good friend, George, who’s posted here before. George is a high school dropout turned financially free, self-made business owner and serial entrepreneur. This time around, he brings his sarcasm and wit to talk about personal empowerment.
“In our life time, family will be a thing of the past, prostitution will be legal, medication will be treated like morning coffee, and taxation will be instantaneous. Isn’t the future great!”
As I am walking to the tanning studio, I see one, two, then three new mobility scooters zip past me, which I assume are for people having a hard time walking or just can’t walk. But something does not smell right to me – two to three years ago, when there were almost no scooters on the street in my neighbourhood, were all these people just stuck in their apartments?
I enter the tanning studio and say hello to my tanning host, Tasha. I also spot two older women in their late 50’s or early 60’s sitting, and I guess, waiting for their turn. One has superb legs for her age, and I can tell she knows it. She has a short skirt on, accentuating her legs. After overhearing a few typical flirty exchanges with Tasha, one of the women speaks up: “Well aren’t we a little cocky today?”
I smile and reply, “It’s only confidence with a strong foundation of self-worth”.
After a few more exchanges she remarks, “You know, I know what being sure of yourself is. I had more surgeries on my foot then I can count and I refuse to give up”. I look at her foot and in astonishment, I see that all her toes have been amputated and she wears two costume shoes to conceal her impairment. I was baffled at how she was able to balance herself. Amazing.
Now I really like this lady – she’s hard-headed, refuses to give up, and looks after herself (even though she smokes, but who cares). I proceed to tell her about all the people I saw on mobility scooters while coming to the studio.
She smugly replies, “Ha! My doctor tried pushing me on to one of those. I told him he was out of his fucking mind”. We then discuss old age homes, and how both of us would fight to the very end before living in one of those graveyards.
A healthy balance in life does include admitting that you will need someone’s help one day. We collect credits (as I like to call them) by helping friends and family now, and the day will come for all of us when we need to cash in the credits and ask for help. But giving up and stuffing your face with fast food, feeling depressed in wintertime and asking for a blue pill, or smoking 2 packs a day and then asking your doctor to hook you up with a scooter, is just shameful.
Eat, smoke, and feel blue – but take responsibility. What are you saying to your fellow man and kids growing up? Seeing this sends a strong messag: It’s okay to give up, because papa government will look after you.
I have a challenge for anyone reading this article and not agreeing just a little.
1. Go to any Chinatown and try finding mobility scooters. Count the canes, strollers, and wheelchairs. You will see a few canes but no scooters. It’s also a good idea to count the old people as well. Since you’re there, also count the overweight people (good luck on that one).
2. Now leave Chinatown and start counting again.
There are places in the world, particularly North America and some Western European nations, where no one is allowed to fall through the cracks. In these countries, if you fall, you’re given prescription remedies, scooters, shitty checks, or maybe if you are lucky – the walking dead to live with. Some of these remedies are a slow downward spiral to nothingness – they KILL the human spirit.
All great life changing events come from misery. 95% of this misery is our own faults and 5% is just life throwing you a curve-ball, because shit happens. This is the stuff that makes us great, makes our society healthy, and pushes us to rely on the greatest thing life gives all of us – the “each other”, the great virtues of life such as humility, compassion, mentoring, and facing fears.
What can we do? Well, when I spend a length of time back in Eastern Europe, my native home, I notice an interesting trait amongst the locals, that could be seen as a double edged sword – but I think the positives outweighs the negatives. If you’re a woman and walking around the city with a nice shiny black eye, at least four strangers a day have to ask what happened to you. This can be annoying, especially if all you did was walk into a door, but if your husband is beating you, you will get scolded with, “Who is this man?”, “Why are you still with him?”, “Does your father know?”, and so on.
Based on this, what I recommend is to start by talking to your friends more about what you really think about yourself, life, society, and them. Start taking a chance to let the world see you with all your wonderful warts; this will give you the right to point theirs out. A true friend risks the friendship to let them know when they’re fucking up, e.g. “Hey Frank, you look like shit and if you stuff another greasy burger in your mouth, I will drown you in the pool.”
I will finish with this with a quick story. I had a childhood friend of mine who allowed his phobias to run his life – in the end, he died young under questionable circumstances. His death I couldn’t control, but I will always feel guilty not giving him a piece of my mind. All I had to do was tell him how I thought and felt. But instead, I never picked up the phone because I didn’t want to be uncomfortable. Well, I will not make that mistake again.
In life, we see things around us, and because so many other people are doing it, we think the tide of change is pointing towards a new direction, and it must be good. Well, I am here to tell you some tides are meant to drown us. Don’t just give in and have them carry you away wherever they may go. Take control, recognize the bad tides, and swim like hell the other way – even if you have no toes!
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
– Mark Twain